To answer this challenge, President Bush is making a number of proposals part of what he calls creating an "ownership society," an idea that should have special appeal to tech workers, who are long accustomed to grappling with the fast pace of technological change and market shifts that can close down companies, even industries, in months. The "ownership society" proposal is supported by plans to let employees control their retirement plans and take benefits with them when they change jobs. Bush has suggested that the nations Social Security system be reformed by letting those who want tohe singled out "younger workers" in his speech before the Republican convention last weekjoin a private social security system. A similar reform plan, devised by scholars at the University of Chicago, worked well in Chile, says Draper, and should be of similar benefit here, giving those who are best able to take advantage of it more control over their retirement plans. "So my kids dont pay into a system that doesnt come back to them," Draper notes.Proposals to create a form of mobile medical insurance, where benefits follow workers, will also help the United States compete more effectively, says Draper. Workers wont cling to jobs because of their benefits. "They should go with you," he says, so employees can follow changes in the job market. Very few workers canor shouldexpect to stay in the same job. The president understands this fact of life, says Draper. "[Bush] recognizes we are forced to be a mobile work force," Draper says. "Hes very focused on the mobile work force. I think his solution is a lot better than saying, You cant hire people from India because theyre cheaper." A simpler, more streamlined tax code like that proposed by the president will also help individual entrepreneurs and small businesses, he says. "The idea is strict fairness and simplicity," Draper says of the proposed reforms to tax law. "They know what the rules are, and its clear." Draper says he disagrees with Bush on some social issuesabortion, specifically. And hed like to see the president push a more dramatic education reform package (Draper is a longtime proponent of a school voucher program) but emphasizes that his support for Bush is a support for a freer, more independent society. "If you categorize me, just say Im a freedom fighter," he says. "Im always looking for the freedom candidatefreedom socially, freedom economically." eWEEK.com Technology and Politics columnist Chris Nolan spent years chronicling the excesses of the dot-com era with incisive analysis leavened with a dash of humor. Before that, she covered politics and technology in D.C. You can read her musings on politics and technology every day in her Politics from Left to Right Weblog. Check out eWEEK.coms Government Center at http://government.eweek.com for the latest news and analysis of technologys impact on government practices and regulations, as well as coverage of the government IT sector.
Check out also Chris Nolans column "Kerry Grasps Potential of Tech, Backer Says."